community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: We take an in-depth look at Marcellus Shale Drilling in the Pittsburgh Region, The LGBTQ community hosts anti-violence rally in Bloomfield, A report from the May Day march in New York City, And more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for May 10, 2010
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast from our website at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local stories.
On the evening of Thursday April 29th, local drag performer, Veruca La'Piranha, was assaulted by patrons of the Pleasure Bar, in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In direct response to the assault, the LGBTQ community hosted an anti-violence rally at the site of the attack the next evening. The following report covers the April 30th rally.
* Rally_PleasureBar_finaledit.flac: 4:30
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
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You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
On May Day, many thousands of New Yorkers rallied and marched in support of immigration reform. Many were demanding full rights for all immigrants and others were focused on urging President Obama to comply with his campaign promises for Immigration Reform. Marchers also expressed widespread opposition to the new Anti-Immigrant law in Arizona as well as support for The Dream Act. Rustbelt Radio reporter, Andalusia Knoll brings us this bilingual sound collage of some of the participants.
* MayDaycollage.ogg: MayDaycollage.ogg [5:42]
You have been listening to a sound collage produced by Rustbelt Radio reporter Andalusia Knoll, from a May Day rally in New York City.
In the two days before the Republican National Convention began in September 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota, police, county sheriff and FBI agents raided several homes and arrested local activists who had been organizing housing and other logistics for protesters.
Eight members of the group, satirically-titled “The RNC Welcoming Committee”, were charged with a felony: "Conspiracy to Riot in the Second Degree in Furtherance of Terrorism".
In mid-December 2008, three more felony charges were added, including “Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage to Property in Furtherance of Terrorism”. The “RNC 8”—as those arrested came to be known—were now collectively facing over 100 years in jail.
In April 2009, four months after announcing the second set of charges, the state announced that the two terrorism enhancement charges would be dropped, leaving the RNC 8 to face two remaining felony conspiracy charges of “Riot in the Second Degree” and “Criminal Damage to Property in the First Degree”.
On Monday, May 3, the RNC 8 returned to court for several days of evidentiary hearings leading up to the joint trial of the eight that begins on October 25. Motions to be heard include those to suppress evidence from the various raids, for bail reductions, for discovery materials relating to entrapment attempts by undercover police, and for dismissal on the grounds of a lack of probable cause.
Observing the hearings, the Courtwatch group of the Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (or “CRASS”) summarized the core of the defense argument:
“The main case of the government rests on a satirical video, guilt by association, statements and actions of people who are not the defendants, and discussions by the defendants that did not constitute any kind of a real plan or conspiracy to commit riot or damage to property.”
After listening to initial defense and prosecution arguments, the judge agreed to allow a Florence hearing, a hearing to allow the judge to determine whether or not the charges should be thrown out due to a lack of probable cause.
Witnesses included several law enforcement officers involved in the case, including Tony Samec of the Special Investigations Unit of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department.
A former member of the Secret Service, Samec authored parts of the search warrant applications for the raids, signed the criminal complaint against the RNC 8, and provided support for the undercover informants on which much of the case was based.
Reportedly defensive at times, Samec was roundly challenged on his failure—in the text of his application for search warrants—to clearly identify the obviously satirical nature of the “We’re getting ready” infomercial that the RNC Welcoming Committee released on YouTube before the Convention. Much of the massive security and legal mobilization against activists against the RNC was predicated on this short video being evidence of a genuine threat.
Other witnesses included undercover agents in the RNC Welcoming Committee. Hearings relating to the RNC 8 trial resume on May 13th.
For more information about the political and legal aftermath of the 2008 RNC, visit the website RNC08REPORT.ORG.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Marcellus Shale is a geological layer that contains rich deposits of natural gas intermixed with the rock. It can be found across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The natural gas lies anywhere from 3,000 to 9,000 feet below the ground. New technologies have enabled the drilling of this previously unreachable resource.
As drilling proceeds across the state, communities are becoming aware of the destruction brought upon by the extraction process. This includes pollution to the air, land, and water; noise pollution; increased traffic; and negative health impacts. Today Rustbelt Radio will bring you an in-depth report on the various concerns surrounding this highly destructive natural gas drilling.
The Lincoln Place Action Group is a small group of concerned citizens who are working to educate their community on the potential dangers of Marcellus Shale drilling. This area of Pittsburgh is currently being visited by representatives of Chesapeake Energy, who are attempting to have the homeowners sign drilling leases.
On April 21st, the Lincoln Place Action Group hosted a town hall meeting with several speakers who addressed various issues surrounding Marcellus Shale drilling. Nearly 80 people were in attendance at the meeting, which took place at Pittsburgh Public’s Mifflin Elementary School.
The first speaker, Steve Hvozdovich of Clean Water Action, gave a brief overview of the drilling process.
* steve_1.ogg: MS steve 1 (1:00)
Steve outlined some of the concerns surrounding Marcellus Shale extraction:
At another recent local event, the mayor of Dish, Texas came to western Pennsylvania to warn our communities about the impacts of gas drilling. The Barnett Shale formation underlies the town of Dish, which has been subject to the same kinds of drilling used for Marcellus wells.
He had some advice for Pennsylvania regarding its fiscal policies:
The mayor also spoke about the impacts drilling has on the tax revenues of small towns:
We'll now hear more from the Lincoln Place Action Group town hall meeting. Ned Mulcahy, of Three Rivers Waterkeeper is an Attorney with a masters in public health. His organization focuses on the protection of water quality through the use of law and science. He briefly explained the complex legal environment that exists between homeowners and the gas companies.
Ned displayed a map to the audience that showed the land parcels in the Lincoln Place area and indicated which land owners have signed leases with the drilling company. Several plots of land close to the elementary school were marked on the map as slated for drilling. It seemed few, if any people in the audience had ever seen the map.
Lisa Graves Marcucci is a member of the Jefferson Hills Environmental Quality Board. She has been researching and observing the gas industry in Pennsylvania. She warned the audience about the industry’s lack of full disclosure when attempting to obtain permits and leases for drilling:
Stephanie Hallowich has lived in Hickory Township in Washington County since 2007. Marcellus Shale drilling has been occurring next to her property for the past year. She described how her community and home environments have drastically changed for the worse since the drilling began.
Next, Stephanie shared a video of the burning flare near her house. Here is the audio from that clip:
At the town hall meeting, several audience members questioned Doug Shields, the City Council representative, about what the City of Pittsburgh would do to stop this drilling from entering their community. Mr. Shields often deferred the regulation authority back to the state who oversees the oil and gas industry's activities across the state. Many members of the audience left armed with new information and nearly all seemed in agreement that Marcellus Shale drilling is something they do NOT want in their neighborhood.
The mayor of Dish, Texas had these closing words:
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy and Garth Porter with contributions from Seth Bearden, Jessica McPherson, Andalusia Knoll, Emily DeMarco and Nigel Parry. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.